By Sharon Hudgins

Late summer and early autumn are plum season in Northern Europe when the juicy beauties ripen on their trees and make their way to markets and into kitchens across the continent. Although wild plums are native to this part of the world, plums have also been cultivated in Europe for at least two thousand years, in backyard gardens and large orchards.

Hundreds of species of plums grow on this planet, but a few are especially popular among cultivators and consumers in the Germanic lands: prune plums, sweet, oval-shaped plums with thick skins, eaten both fresh and dried (prunes); dark purple damson plums with a yellow-green flesh inside; round, reddish Victoria plums with yellow flesh; small, very sweet, yellow Mirabelle plums, with a thin skin and very soft flesh; small, round greengage plums, whose skin and flesh are both green, even when ripe; and yellowgage or golden plums, similar to greengages but yellow or gold in color.

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